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Ten Notable Resources for Cross-sector Collaboration in Rural Areas

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By The Intersector Project
January 19, 2018

To help users find essential, quality resources from our Resource Library, The Intersector Project creates curated lists on a variety of topics, bringing important practitioner- and academic-oriented work to the forefront.

Here we present resources on cross-sector collaboration in rural areas — cases, articles, multimedia and reports which tackle topics ranging from rural sustainability to improving education to providing broadband and more.

View all our curated lists here.

(Case) Rural Sustainability in Western North Carolina, The Intersector Project, 2014

In 2004, the Asheville Livestock Market closed its doors. Many local farmers then faced a difficult decision: Continue raising cattle and absorb the increased cost of travel to buy and sell their livestock, or give up cattle farming completely. Bill Gibson, of the Southwestern Regional Council of Governments, was called upon to develop a plan to build and operate a central livestock market. This case study tells the story of how Bill pursued funding for a new market, connecting participants from all sectors at multiple levels.

(Case) Collective Impact Case Study: Franklin County Communities that Care Coalition, FSG, 2013

✴ Available with free registration

“Franklin County Communities that Care Coalition is a collective impact initiative to reduce substance use and improve the ability of youth to reach their full potential in rural Franklin County, Massachusetts. A resource for collective impact backbone organizations, funders, and partners, this case study provides an overview of the initiative, along with lessons learned.”

(Scholarly Article) Rural Cross-Sector Collaboration: A Social Frontier Analysis (scholarly article), American Educational Research Journal, Peter M. Miller, Martin K. Scanlan, and Kate Phillippo, 2017

✴ Available only with purchase from publisher

“Extant research on cross-sector collaboration focuses disproportionately on urban settings. This qualitative study examined three years of cross-sector collaboration in ‘Midvale,’ a rural community in the western United States. Applying the conceptual framework of social frontiers, it illuminates how issues of difference, competition, and resource constraint impacted cross-sector collaboration in Midvale’s rural context.”


(Scholarly Article) Mobilization and Adaptation of a Rural Cradle-to-Career Network (scholarly article), Education Sciences, Sarah J. Zuckerman, 2016

“This case study explore[s] the development of a rural cradle-to-career network with a dual focus on the initial mobilization of network members and subsequent adaptations made to maintain mobilization, while meeting local needs. … Three network adaptations were discovered: Special rural community organizing strategies, district-level action planning, and a theory of action focused on out-of-school factors.”


(Report) Turning the Tide on Persistent Rural Poverty: Blueprint for a Path Forward, NeighborWorks America, Nick Mitchell-Bennett, Jim King, Bill Bynum, and Chrystel Cornelius, 2017

“In late 2014, a working group formed to focus on partnerships to tackle persistent rural poverty. Together, the members of the working group represent the hardest-hit rural areas of the country. … This paper invites a bottom-up approach in which those living in and working with the affected communities directly identify the remaining challenges and the most effective solutions.”


(Multimedia) Webinar: Unlocking Investment in Rural America, Mission Investors Exchange, Bill Bynum, Justin Maxson and Lisa Mensah, 2016

This webinar discusses Uplift America, a public-private-philanthropic partnership tackling rural poverty. “This lively conversation will help participants envision creative solutions for their own communities, including how philanthropic leaders can apply catalytic grant dollars alongside other impact investors, provide flexible capital, and find the right fit for each partner.”


(Report) Successful Strategies for Broadband Public-private Partnerships, Institute for Local Self Reliance, Patrick Lucey and Christopher Mitchell, 2016

One of the cases highlighted in this report is the town of Leverett, Massachussetts: “LeverettNet is not so much a comprehensive PPP agreement as it is a series of bids and awarded contracts culminating in a municipal network leased to a local ISP. Yet it does represent another approach to how public and private actors can work together on a local network project.”

(Report) Effective Rural Governance: What Is It? Does It Matter?, Rural Governance Initiative at the Rural Policy Research Institute, Nancy Stark, 2006

“This framing paper defines effective governance, explains why governance is suddenly in the spotlight, details and illustrates eight key principles of effective rural governance, and poses questions that ground the Rural Governance Initiative. … Effective governance incorporates a variety of decision-making and implementation practices by a wide range of people, organizations, and institutions beyond government.”

(Report) Financing Tools and Partnerships for Rural and Semiurban Transportation Projects, Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas at Austin, Khali Persad, C. Michael Walton and Patricia Franco, 2008

“With traditional transportation revenue sources lagging and maintenance demanding more attention, non-urban areas have less funding for new projects. This research examine[s] alternative financing options, experience with them, and lessons learned.”

(Tool) Rural Community Health Toolkit, Rural Health Information Hub

“This toolkit provides rural communities with the information, resources, and materials they need to develop a community health program in a rural community. Each of the toolkit’s six modules contains information that communities can apply to develop a rural health program, regardless of the specific health topic the program addresses.”

Author: The Intersector Project is a non-profit organization that empowers practitioners in the business, government, and non-profit sectors to collaborate to solve problems that cannot be solved by one sector alone. We create accessible, credible, and practically valuable resources that are publicly available in full through our website. Visit us at intersector.com.

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